Getting through the job interview with flying colors is all the more important these days with the continued high rate of jobless claims. Now is a good time to ace a highly competitive interview.

You may be fully qualified for the job, up on the latest technology and dressed for job success, but are you fully qualified to answer the "golden question"? Some classic hiring questions come to mind immediately, and they're all worthy of some reflection:

1) So what do you want to be doing in five years?
2) Please describe your favorite project.
3) What is your best and worst attribute?
4) How do you handle stress?
5) How would your last boss/co-workers describe you?

But what is the one question that interviewers pay the most attention to? Most likely the following inquiry: "So why do you want to work here?"

Why the Question is Golden

Your answer to this has the potential to land you the job perhaps like no other. Why? Because it has so many facets and opportunities for you to put your best foot forward. And if your prospective boss doesn't use these exact words, it will still be expressed in some form. For example, the question might be: "How do you feel you can contribute to our xyz team?" So be ready to proactively offer your response, as this is a marketing venue for you.

Make it Your Showcase

When asked "Why you want to work here?," you have the opportunity to achieve multiple goals. Below are three examples of how you can do so:

1) Show your breadth of knowledge of the company and industry

Be prepared by researching the company and industry. Visit their website, as well as competitive and industry sites, and read useful blogs. Read the company's mission statement; understand their goals and vision for the future. If they're public, read their annual report online. What do they pride themselves on, and where are they headed? If you like their future direction, then express it and explain why, e.g., "Your website/materials mention some exciting products in the pipeline, given where the industry is going. I feel that I can contribute to xyz greatly because of my background."

2) Explain what you can offer in the job

The interviewer is looking for a good match, so make sure you elaborate on how closely your skills fit the bill. "I want to work for this company because I feel that my skills set is well aligned with the position and your future direction." Let the interviewer feel that there is, in effect, a good return on investment (ROI) in hiring you. Give examples of similar achievements from other jobs that are relatable to this one, e.g., "I was the lead person on the xyz project, which resulted in reaching a new market segment."

3) Show enthusiasm you have for the position

The interviewer is not only looking at your job skills, but at your poise, social skills and enthusiasm for the job. Elaborate on what you like about the position. When answering, smile and show warmth (and if possible, some well-timed levity). "I'd be excited to work with your team. And XYZ company has such a great reputation for X."

Rehearse and rehearse again

Have your answers ready and rehearse them with a family, friend or even to yourself. Try it in front of a mirror. Your facial muscles have memory, and the more smoothly you can project your sentences, the more confident and concise you'll be, sans stumbling.

Also have a friend grill you, "out of the box." That way, if the interviewer asks you something you haven't rehearsed, you'll be more comfortable thinking on your feet, versus appearing like a deer in the headlights.

There's an added bonus to thinking through this golden question. "Why you want to work for a company" is not only an invaluable query for you to answer in an interview. It's paramount in helping you examine whether you should even be applying to a position in the first place.

Now you are armed with a powerful tool to ace that interview. Best of luck!

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